FastGram is defined with independent elements such that it is not necessary to incorporate all of them. In this way we can easily transit between the traditional notation and FastGram. Next, we present the core elements:
1. Colour cues
Navigating a traditional stave is visually complicated. Lines are easily confused with each other, and especially when using various clefs. The same line of the stave has different meanings depending on the clef used. Moreover, it does not properly represent scales, since the visual distance between two notes is the same whether there is a difference of a tone or a semitone.
In FastGram the E and B lines are marked in red, and the C and F lines in blue. This provides a permanent reference in all cases. It also marks the points where there is a semitone difference instead of the usual tone.
[red and blue are replaced by dotted and dashed lines for colourblind or malicious printers owners]
2. Explicit notes
[Disclaimer: This point is especially aimed at beginners. You can disregard it when you reach sufficient speed.]
The use of sharp or flat key signatures on traditional notation gives structural information, but does not to make it easy for a beginner to read music. These signatures imply that the note represented on the stave is not the one that should be played.
In FastGram no sharp or flat key signatures are used. Each printed note must represent exactly what is symbolized, without the need for extra operations. This additionally allows no flats to be used, just sharps, further simplifying the notation.
(and worry not about the information lost by not including the signatures, the scale information can be still kept explicitly if wished, see next point)
3. Explicit scales
FastGram does not remove positive elements from the traditional notation, it just updates them. If you want to represent the scale used, it can be explicitly included in full at the beginning of the staves, instead of the traditional simplified key signature. This is didactic as it helps us to visualize each time the set of basic notes we use, but it also facilitates for example improvising on the theme.
The usual notation, presents an asymmetry between staves that is visually confusing.
In FastGram you can add the missing sixth line to each stave, making the notation visually symmetrical, and more importantly, stable. From now on, each line has a unique meaning (i.e. the top line in the two staves is always an A, the bottom is always an E). And thanks to the colours now it is not a problem to distinguish an extra line.
Feel free to adopt the specific elements of FastGram which are useful to you and to develop new proposals on them. FastGram aims to make music accessible to as many people as possible and to enable them to reach as far as possible. Music belongs to all of us.
Collaborate extending the use of FastGram!
FastGram is a proposal for people interested in music. If you think it can be beneficial, share it with more people, talk about it in music forums, edit your own scores following it, experience how easy it is to play using it. Share, debate, try, enjoy.